Employees Got The Blues?

It’s the time of year when employees may be in a slump or feeling blue. What can you do to bring some cheer to your workplace besides waiting for the snow to melt or the daffodils to bloom?

RECOGNIZE your employees. Here are a few ideas to brighten up the office.

Gifts create a lasting reminder of your appreciation.
It’s easy to give employees a cash reward. But such tokens of recognition are quickly spent and forgotten. Consider the following instead:

  • Give simple, unexpected gifts of time to make the team member feel special.
  • Give appliances and consumer electronic products, especially when the item is in its early stages of market acceptance.
  • Award gift certificates for food, books, clothes or music.
  • Allow the employee to choose any item of a given value from a merchandise catalog
  • Give new responsibilities to a team member who has demonstrated the ability to handle the work.

Make formal awards a part of your culture.

  • Establish company awards for best attendance, highest quality, best customer service – behaviors you want to encourage. Hold a ceremony in which top-level executives publicly present these awards to the recipients.
  • Create a trophy that moves from one high-performing department (or person) to the next. You can even have the current holder decide who gets it next.
  • Recommend the team member for an applicable company recognition award.

A simple “thank you” costs nothing.
A sincere word of thanks from the right person at the right time can mean more to an employee than a raise, a formal award, or a whole wall of certificates and plaques. And it costs nothing.

  • Send handwritten letters of appreciation.
  • Post a thank-you note on an employee’s door.
  • Call employees into your office just to say thank you. Don’t discuss any other issue.
  • Have the company president or a high-level manager call employees to thank them for a job well done.
  • Pre-print “ABCD” (above and beyond the call of duty) cards and encourage managers or employees to award them to deserving co-workers.
  • In team meetings, encourage team members to recognize each other’s positive contributions.
  • Hold quick, surprise team meetings to show public recognition of great work.

“Create a story” that is shared.
Your recognition will have a stronger impact when it creates a story that the employee can tell to family, friends and associates for years to come.

  • Recognize hard work by arranging for the employee’s car to be washed in the parking lot. Or pay for a housecleaning service for the employee’s home.
  • Rent a sports car for the employee to drive for a week.
  • Arrange for a photo session with the company president.

Serve up a tasty reward.
Food is always in good taste. It appeals to the senses and creates a festive atmosphere when it is shared with family or co-workers.

  • Deliver a fruit basket, steaks, or a batch of chocolate chip cookies to the employee.
  • Hold a team lunch – at a restaurant or in the office – to celebrate together.
  • Personalize the label on a wine bottle with a message of thanks to the recipient.
  • Treat employees to a pizza lunch or a giant submarine sandwich.
  • Surprise a top-performing department with a champagne picnic at a local park.

Give the gift of time.
Time off is universally appreciated. Whether it is a free afternoon or a six-month sabbatical, this form of recognition is always welcome.

  • Provide an extra break.
  • Allow a 2-hour lunch (and pay for dessert).
  • Grant a long weekend after a particularly demanding period of work.

So what are you doing to recognize employees?  Inspire us by sharing ideas that have worked for you.

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